I just got back from seeing Bon Iver at the Fox theater in beautiful downtown Oakland. Megafaun opened for them. I've just downloaded their CD, which sounds pretty good. Watching them do their folky hippy beardy thing, I suddenly wondered if all these indie bands are really just as hippy and boring as the Grateful Dead. Between Animal Collective, Megafaun, and Fleet Foxes, you could keep the folks at Bonaroo tripping balls and hacky sacking for hours. Just a thought.
Bon Iver had four members and two drum sets. That's a lot of people to rock so lightly. it's an odd band, in that Justin Vernon essentially wrote the songs himself while he was holed up in some cabin, so they were never meant to be played in front of a packed house. The songs are delicate, quite, and there was a whole lotta shushing to keep the chatty tipplers from yapping during the set. But you know what? It may not have rocked, but it worked. He opened with "Flume," and it was gorgeous. "Blood Bank" was fairly rockin', and for "Wolves" he had the crowd chant along and then scream. They did two songs for their encore, finishing up with a folky sing along with Megafaun. it may have been mellow as hell, but it was still a good show.
Some random observations:
Bon Iver has a small but vocal Bro fan base.
9/10s of the people there seemed to be couples. And white. and between the ages of 26 and 35. They should have been marketing cars and appliances to us.
Number of African Americans in the audience that didn't work at the Fox: 0.
The guy behind me was on a date. His date loves Bon Iver. He whistled along. Thanks, dude!
The people that own the Curiosity Shop were standing next to us. They seem super hip.
Justin Vernon needs a damn haircut.
For a dude that wrote a sad album in the woods or whatever, he is a remarkably personable and nice guy. I kinda wanted to go get a beer with him after the show. If he were a mopey fuck, his music wouldn't be half as interesting to me.
It took me less time to get from Oakland to my apartment than it does to get across SF on some days.
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